Falling Apart

Life has the knack of throwing curveballs and challenges at you just as you think that things are running smoothly. I think we all know what I am talking about, that unnecessary thing that happens to put you back in your place or to irritate you senselessly and you ask but why, why Larry, WHY!?

So no sneaky creepy spider in my pants taking a bite in my scrumptious nether regions, but that dreaded back hernia is back. Taking a vow of silence to not let potential athletic scouts know about my setback in my bustling cycling career, I have to come forward in public to face the scrutiny of why it happened again. The simple answer is; I don’t know! Supposedly not allowed to carry heavy stuff and then maybe doing that exact thing (define heavy if you feel indestructible) over a few months could have played a part, or maybe it was just inevitable after the first structural damage to the spine.

Ride Reuben 2

Yes that is me in the background pushing my bicycle at the 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The day when you get published in a national magazine (Ride) and the focus was not on you but the guy (Reuben Van Niekerk) riding his bicycle in front of you (He is amazing for what he has achieved)

 

And no, my Fiancé had no part to play in my back deconstruction (Oops, did I type this out loud. Sorry my love). Dom was away in Zambia and I (currently working for myself as you would call it if you looking for a fixed employment space) was ready to go on an early morning bike ride. Everything was ready, tyres inflated to the exact pressure desire, lights fitted and charged, water bottles filled, clothing and shoes ready to just crawl into to be out of bed and onto the bike in 5 minutes. It did not happen that way.

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An Epic time with Gerrie Beukes and Mitas. Did some marketing activation work for Mitas Tyres, Official Tyre Supplier of the Absa Cape Epic and realised again what a massive operation this is (One I hope not to have on my back)

My cellular device, that also doubles as an alarm clock, rudely shouted at me at 5:15 am and determined to go burn off all the beer and pizza reserves rolled over towards the edge of the empty, lonely bed to get up for a nice short 3 hour ride. Feeling not entirely mobile and in a little bit of pain I got up and headed towards the cycling clothing pile sat out in formation to crawl into. During the sloth walk I realized that cycling were not going to happen uncomfortableness in the lower back and pain messages slowly made its way to my mushy brain.

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Look I made it to TV at the Cape Epic Grand Finale (The bigger portioned person on the blue shirt on the left)

The pain in the right hamstring burned its way to me hopping back to bed as it felt like I torn every muscle in that hamstring and the pain in the back kicked in. All this suddenly felt familiar to that day in October 2017 when my back decided to do the same on the day Dominique left for Durban for a week of work. As Alanis Morissette would say in her beautiful voice: “And isn’t it ironic, don’t you think”

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So awesome to have my Fiancé at the Grand Finale with me

This Tuesday has become unforgettable in my life as I were confined to nearly no movement the whole day and using every kind of pain pill and/or anti-inflammatory available in our house. Nothing worked and don’t event bring up trying to go for a wee. Firstly it would take like felt like an hour to try and get upright from the loving couch absorbing my pain as I lay in the fetal position (or anyway that did not hurt), then having to hop and sloth slowly towards the bathroom. Reaching this short term goal, standing like a canine to do number one whilst biting down on all your resolve to try and dissipate the pain hoping that the release of build-up water in the bladder goes down and out quickly. It was not pleasant, neither was trying to stand or be upright anywhere. But enough of relaying my painful story and chasing away my potential athletic sponsors and back to reality. Life throws difficulty at us all the time and things we may not want or expect. The way we move on and handle these hazardous obstacles will be what define us and I will be back out riding as soon as I can. This Monday is D-day as the qualified doctor paid highly to use a knife for fun, I mean work, will determine my path forward post the MRI review as the machine will reveal my deepest secrets. Hopefully I am not falling apart too much.

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Legend at the Absa Cape Epic and former Springbok tighthead prop, Marius Hurter with former Protea Netball star, Adele Niemand making sure our nerves worked throughout the week as the pushed the cut-off times to the limit

Watch this space and hopefully soon we can go on a cycling journey towards fitness again with my Fiancé riding the path with me. Catch us soon.

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The start of my 2014 Absa Cape Epic. The week at this years’ Cape Epic brought back a lot of memories

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The finish of my 2nd Absa Cape Epic in 2016 with Thinus Crafford. Who knows, maybe a 3rd one is still achievable; bad back and all. Hell of a story 

We will see you at the Walkerbay Xtreme (working) and the Ride2Nowhere (hopefully riding)

A Rap Over The Knuckles

Yes I am guilty, guilty of many various things, one being not regularly updated this blog and the other not training as disciplined as I should be. (If you were a cannibal and on the Banting diet (Low Carbs, High Fat) my body currently have the fat required for fitting into the dietary requirements). When in primary school (in the previous millennium) we had a maths teacher and as they tended to do is try and teach their pupils the multiply tables. We got tested weekly and for every mistake you got rapped over the knuckles (now fortunately I was great at maths and rarely had to feel this pain – yes I am boasting – but it was some way of motivating us pupils to study and learn what was required, but enough said of that method of teaching where mistakes was punished with pain.

I went out riding this last Saturday and my research has confirmed that the current Table Mountain habitual conditions were conducive to the successful relocation of Polar Ice Bears

I went out riding this last Saturday and my research has confirmed that the current Table Mountain habitual conditions were conducive to the successful relocation of Polar Ice Bears #BlockHouse

Anyway I had a real deep look at myself as the pants slowly started to fit a bit tighter and after reasoning with myself concluded that it was improbable that they (the pants) would be shrinking and thus only reason was that my body mass must be increasing. Queue the guilt and commitment to settle in to force oneself to face the brutal cold and darkness of Cape Town’s winter to get up early and start training. Okay I’ll confess, on 2 week days I’m still heading indoors to Virgin Active to punish myself on the WattBike. It seems I did not have enough of that torture in the build up to the Absa Cape Epic. (They are forcing me to do 2 sessions on the WattBike after for some unknown reason they cancelled our 6am Spinning Class – yes I am moaning)

 

I am riding the Ride2Nowhere (Presented by WeChat) in McGregor in September and the aim during this current dark and cold period is to maintain the fitness levels post the awesome summer riding days to be in shape for this amazing event. Fortunately Coach Alasdair Garnett is always helpful with advice and thus the two high intensity sessions (that’s why I miss the Spin Class) in the week, finished off with riding over the weekend and the fitness levels should be able to be maintained. Well I hope so! Anyway watching the diet when it is cold and dark also presents a challenge and let’s not talk about comfort food and the mental challenges to try and not do that impulse purchase. Be strong (Not very successful at being strong as it is impossible to walk past Biltong and not buy some, it is just too tempting).

 

It is the 5th year of the Ride2Nowhere and it will be the 5th year I will be riding it and still remains one of my

Sunday was road bike day and to be all by myself on top of Chapman's Peak was surreal. (Polar Bears could relocate there as well)

Sunday was road bike day and to be all by myself on top of Chapman’s Peak was surreal. (Polar Bears could relocate there as well)

favourite events of the year and I don’t want to be stone dead last like in year 1, thus the training. What Eulogy van Dyk and Con Viljoen has achieved with the event is fantastic. To have seen it grow so much, whilst still keeping that friendly, relaxed  and community feel is just great. Everyone I know always enjoys this ride and the whole event and the warm, friendly and festive atmosphere of McGregor. If you are looking for an event to do in September, to shake off that winter legs, enter now rap yourselves over the knuckles to get out there and training to be ready to enjoy the tranquillity of McGregor and the beautiful scenery in the flowering season of the Karoo. And what is extra super cool is that you get a R1000 back in your Wallet if you enter through WeChat!

 

Here’s to taking my body features of the Banting Dietary list with loads of training. #NoMoreFat

PS: There are super awesome wines in the McGregor area. #JustSaying Bring all your friends!

Some views one gets whilst facing the cold but actually still riding your bike. Check out the awesome Mitas Tyres

Some views one gets whilst facing the cold but actually still riding your bike. Check out the awesome Mitas Tyres

Gravel and (Fermented) Grape(s)

This last weekend it was back to stage racing and back on the bike was my mate Evert Ferreira with whom I started my cycling journey with back in

The stunning view from our Slanghoek Villa at Goudini Spa

The stunning view from our Slanghoek Villa at Goudini Spa

2011. How things have changed as back then it was me who started cycling and now Evert is one trying to get back into mountain biking after not doing that for more than 3 years. He felt the pain and climbing stairs this week will still be painful. What made up for the grovel on the gravel was the fermented grape- aka wine tastings we worked into our trip.

 

The Gravel and Grape race is hosted by The Breedekloof Wine Valley with Iqela Events and this valley is a gem when it comes to, not only great wines but also awesome mountain biking. The routes are a combination of some gravel roads, farm roads through the vineyards, jeep tracks and some fantastic technical single track. This was a true test of proper mountain biking, which although some sections might have been tough for beginner riders the overall routes everyday made for great views and great riding.

 

Like way back with my 1st Wines2Whales we again came to know the Sweepers (Alex and Riaan this time) really well as we struggled on Day 1 up to the 50km mark, before Evert decided that sense would prevail and there was no need to punish his body any further and called it the day. Off I went pushing hard the last 23km’s to make sure I would make the 6 hour cut off. Grinding it out and pushing harder than at the Absa Cape Epic I actually managed to come in with half an hour to spare. The route was amazing and the combination as in the name of gravel roads, vineyards and testing single track makes this a must return to event.

 

After the punishment on the bike we decided to explore some wineries in the area and as per our Google search the previous night, off we went to Jason’s Hill Private Cellar. We were fortunate enough to meet the winemaker Ivy and just had to taste all the cultivars on offer. (Marius Hurter we can definitely go there for the Sauvignon Blanc, well for all the wine as Evert and I walked away purchasing stock for consumption when back in Cape Town).

Evert sampling some of the finest at Jason's Hill. Think this was the Cab - to go well with cigars #JustSaying

Evert sampling some of the finest at Jason’s Hill. Think this was the Cab – to go well with cigars #JustSaying. Heat stroke might be an explanation for the England jersey or perhaps because he is Mr. CCC

From there we went on to Slanghoek Cellars and again just had to sample most of what they had on offer and again we walked away with stock for later consumption.  What more does one want for a Saturday, great mountain biking in the morning, wine tasting in the afternoon and a braai (barbeque for my non South African friends) (2nd one) in the evening – the Perfect day….

So many good wines, so little time to taste them all

So many good wines, so little time to taste them all

With Ev’s body aching a bit after being back on the bike and he claiming his new MTB shoes are great for walking we endeavoured to take on stage 2 – 68km with 1100m of climbing. We started off through the vineyards and quickly onto a short technical single track and through the vineyards again past Du Toits Kloof Cellars onto some amazing trails that looped into the mountains and also where the Gravel and Grape Riders caught up with us: “pass, pass, pass…and so we let them pass”. With the undulating single track taking its toll on my partner, but him hanging in there enjoying every moment of being out on the bike, suffering and all, we reached the 2nd water point and regrouped with refuelling the bodies (the water points were amazing). From here we starting climbing onto a very technical switchback climb into the mountain and the strains of mountain biking started to take its toll again as the hard work and technicality proofed a challenge to my mate. We reached the split on the route where the long and Lite went its different ways and as Ev remarked” Castle Lite for me” and our ways parted and sense prevailed again and good choice by my mate because what followed was a proper technical climb and descent, followed by another climb onto a ridge and technically down a

Riding besides the scorched earth Evert roaming across the single trail towards the on route photographer, aka me

Riding besides the scorched earth Evert roaming across the single trail towards the on route photographer, aka me

valley – routes that were made for mountain biking and I loved it. It helps being fit and in shape as one can enjoy it so much more. I really loved day 2 of Gravel and Grape as we got properly tested again on our mountain biking skills, I did fail once however as I decided to take a dive off my bike and broke the fall with my quads on a rock. Not the best place to land as the dark blue / yellow mark on my leg would confess to. Still it was a great day out.

 

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Riding through Slanghoek Cellars, my partner still in sight. So much wine…. The guys from Slanghoek and Breedekloof really did a great job in putting the route together and hosting a great event with Iqela Events

Another braai in the evening with watching some sport on TV whilst enjoying the local fermented grapes and another super day in Africa IMG_8944done. One should really look at doing this event next year; it really has a lot to offer on and off the bike. Day 3 was shorter with more single track on offer and the local Breedekloof Winery guys have really outdone themselves with some amazing trails that were built. Again one had to work your way upwards to enjoy it and in-between they took us onto the local Cross Country track that was built (on which our KTM sponsored rider, Johann Trotzky, trains a lot as it is in his backyard. Al the best to him and good luck to dad Hennus and the committee in getting a race hosted there shortly). I’m glad I am doing marathon riding as going up that XC track was super tough. From there we went up the mountain on single track again and Ev had to work hard again, but in good spirits and pushing forward, we arrived at the Lite and Long split. “See you at the finish Ev and make sure there is a cold beer” and we

Our lead out vehicle - we thank you for making sure we have wine

Our lead out vehicle – we thank you for making sure we have wine

parted ways and off I sped again to catch up with the guys in front.  Again, super trails and great single track for our pure mountain bike enthusiasts, you have to get yourself out there and ride these trails. Big kudos for Evert that was willing to ride with me and reunite the original Phat Boy combination for this race. Huge respect for attempting it just as you entered the Vets category of cycling. It was great to be out on the trails with him again, always fun and we always keep on going.

 

Besides the coldish weather and cold water river crossing this was really a great weekend away for a boy’s breakaway or taking the whole family with to enjoy the facilities at Goudini Spa. Make sure you put this race on your calendar for 2017.

 

After the Cape Epic is has been really tough to keep self-discipline and stick to the healthy and right eating regime. I managed to get some training and events done, but how does one keep everything on the straight and narrow with temptations that were out on one’s path that started on the 2nd of April with a bachelors. No need to elaborate. This was followed by the wedding on the 9th that was followed by a 40th on the 16th. See where all this is heading as it did not stop there as the following weekend was the Cell C Arabella Challenge where good friends met and Wildekrans wine was on offer, there was some mountain biking as well and then after that on the 30th another epic 40th birthday party of abovementioned friend Evert and then of course this past weekend Gravel and Grape in the wine country with some 3 days of braaiing and so forth.

 

Needless to say that at this stage I am as reluctant as the other gender of the Homo sapiens specie after they have just turned 30 to climb onto a scale after showcasing your body weight…

 

Until the next adventure and be su

It really was beautiful out in the mountains. Much better than being stuck in an office

It really was beautiful out in the mountains. Much better than being stuck in an office

re to be on the lookout for the Cederberg 100miler in September, entries are open.

Some hills were just too much and a welcome breather to quickly recover before it is back on the bike and forward again

Some hills were just too much and a welcome breather to quickly recover before it is back on the bike and forward again

Some great images from Chris Hitchcock at the event galleries can be seen here

Again my Mitas Tyres were superb and I had no hassles and handled the technical route with ease

Some of the gravel from Gravel and Grape #FastMoving

Some of the gravel from Gravel and Grape #FastMoving. See you all at Cederberg 100miler Evert Ferreira, Willie du Plooy, Rob Kucera, Richard Coram (Thinus Crafford & Andrew Rogers?)

The image says it all. Thanks Chris Hitchcock

Some great images from Chris Hitchcock at the event galleries can be seen on PhotoSport’s website

Always in good spirit no matter what the trails dished up

Always in good spirit no matter what the trails dished up

Phat Boys – Nowhere to hide

Thank G… arnett that I don’t have to be on my bike today J

Will i be able to survive 8 days of courage with this bloke on my left...looking forward to a tough and great week Thinus

Will i be able to survive 8 days of courage with this bloke on my left…looking forward to a tough and great week Thinus

A few days left before the start of an unforgettable adventure and I know my riding partner Thinus is super excited and also nervous, and so am I as well. To finally get to the starting point of 6 months of disciplined training and sacrifices to friends and family is daunting and that drive to finish all 8 days exhilarating. I think the biggest challenge on Sunday would be to hold back Thinus from not shooting out of the starting blocks like the Greyhound (“Die Windhond”) we know that he is from the excitement of being on live TV for the first time (Supersport 6 from 09:30 – 14:00) oh! and of course to have gotten to the start of a life dream and bucket list event could also play a part. For those that want to follow our adventure, our prologue start time is 08:11 on Sunday 13 March, our race number is 321 and you can follow the race live through Tracker.

 

From a form point of view I should be feeling confident as I completed the Cape Town Cycle Tour of 109km’s in a personal best time of 3:30 in my 5th attempt at this race. Taking 23 minutes of my previous best time in 2014, I am also confident that Thinus is in top shape, which could spell tough times for me trying to keep up with the speedster. Here is where we have to say thank you to coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practise, keeping us focussed and well trained, we appreciate your input and effort and we both wish that you and Gretha could have been in the race with us. That would have been fantastic; we wish you well and know we will be thinking of you, all the best for your personal challenges ahead, we sure all will go well.

Not too a bad time for a Phat Boy at the Cape Town Cycle Tour... now I can retire from this event

Not too a bad time for a Phat Boy at the Cape Town Cycle Tour… now I can retire from this event

Live well, eat well and play hard, so after the race on Sunday some great company at the Westin Cape Town as we consumed some Burgers and Beer for recovery

Live well, eat well and play hard, so after the race on Sunday some great company at the Westin Cape Town as we consumed some Burgers and Beer for recovery

 

To KTM Bike Industries and Mitas Tyres for giving us the opportunity to ride the event and for all the support through all the relevant persons involved here, Johan, Greg, Willie, Pavel and Morné from The Bicycle Company sorting out and handling our numerous outrages requests. Thanks Morné and team, your support has been fantastic. To all my family as well from backing me and following my journey and putting up with me (all my sisters will know). To my mate Rich from Freewheel Cycology and crew for sorting my bike out with a proper pre-epic service and making sure I’m all ready and set up to go.

So my partner had this brain wave to thank our supporters through doing some special for them - great T-shirt TC

So my partner had this brain wave to thank our supporters through doing some special for them – great T-shirt TC. Thanks for the awesome shirts Canterbury (CCC)

To our mates in our cycling group thanks for all the support so far and backing us even though some of you support the wrong rugby teams. Kuc thanks for all those weekend rides, always a pleasure and great fun and next year is your turn. Wikkelspies for always having my back and eager to join in the riding over the weekends and getting me on a bike in the first place. Andrew we’ve missed the riding all the events we did in the past thank for the support and always encouraging words to keep us going. Eben I know would have loved to still be riding with us over the weekends and riding Camels in Egypt is just not the same as mountain biking, we know you miss it, hang in there and thanks for the support. Ev, my partner in crime and for months supplier of free beer at the braai, you have done so much for us with regards to apparel and always eager to help and sort things out, we need to get you back on the bike, sure Nikki can handle the tribe over weekends 🙂 Thanks for all your support Nix. Marilize we haven’t forgotten you, we know you always there to make things happen. Vik, Richard and Rodney from Creative Workshop – just saying lunch is on me after the epic and there will be Tequila, you guys are legendary.

 

Thinus also have so many people that are supporting him (us), I might not know all so if I miss someone I do apologise as all of you have supported Thinus and the Phat Boys in so many ways. First of all Lolla who had to be a Cape Epic widow for close to 6 months, your support has been amazing and we could not have done it without your support and involvement and encouragement . It must have been tough at times and the sacrifice made is appreciated. I’m sure Thiaan more than did his part in Thinus’ journey to the start on Sunday. Thanks to Loriaan’s family and the Lutzville Hotel for their support, Nolan and family from the Tyger Valley Cadence Cycling Performance Centre, André and the guys from Thinus’ work, Intaprop, thanks gents, much appreciated. Morajane du Plessis attorneys and Gerra with the support from Jo-Rie, Hannes and Paula and Pieter and Liesel, Riaan Gouws and everyone that Lolla has added onto the WhatsApp group that I might have missed.

 

I’m now tired of typing and saying thank you, if I missed anyone it was not on purpose and I apologise as I am still sulking after the T20 lost to Australia last night and might not be totally refocused on the cycling side of things.

My friend Chantel Rall were also supposed to be on the start line with us, but unfortunately her cancer returned and all my thoughts and wishes are with her. Hang in their Chantz and loads of love, we will miss you in the start chute but will hopefully see you at the finish line again. #LoveChanty

 

Let the adventure begin.

 

PS: Belia, if we (when) we make it to the finish line on the 3rd, please make sure it us Ultra Mel custard that is on that Malva Pudding…

Start of the 55km to be completed in 3:48 with a tumble or two

Start of the 55km to be completed in 3:48 with a tumble or two

Breakfast at The Westin Cape Town for the media launch of Columbia as partner of the Absa Cape Epic Pictured are Jeremy Harris of KFM, Rob Kucera General Manager and cycling training buddy and a Phat Boy)

Breakfast at The Westin Cape Town for the media launch of Columbia as partner of the Absa Cape Epic Pictured are Jeremy Harris of KFM, Rob Kucera General Manager and cycling training buddy and a Phat Boy)

Early morning selfie

Early morning selfie

Minglong with the who's who at the Columbia breakfast. Amazing journey by Fat Kid on a Bike aka Ron Rutland

Minglong with the who’s who at the Columbia breakfast. Amazing journey by Fat Kid on a Bike aka Ron Rutland

A great night at the cricket with some mates, pity we lost against the Aussies

A great night at the cricket with some mates, pity we lost against the Aussies

Riding through the burnt landscape of Simonsberg at the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge.

Riding through the burnt landscape of Simonsberg at the Cape Town Cycle Tour MTB Challenge.

Cries of Anguish…

SAVANAH!! I heard this shrill scream and turned my head towards the noise, OH sh(fill in missing vowel here)t! Now at this stage I was cycling through a sandy patch, in the lower Tokai forest, where runners, dogs and horses (with riders) go for their recreational jog, walk and in this case chasing a mountain biker. Those that have followed my journey might remember the Constantia Dog incident in early 2014, when a well-nourished LSM10 dog who was

The result of being caught by a canine whilst going uphill back in 2014

The result of being caught by a canine whilst going uphill back in 2014

Always stunning riding on Table Mountain

Always stunning riding on Table Mountain (Photo: Rob Kucera)

clearly tired of consuming the prescribed veterinary food on its diet, and decided a bite from a well-defined muscled human leg would taste much better and thus my cry of anguish as Savanah the skinny runners’ dog came bearing down on me.

Knowing that trying to speed away in the sand I knew was not an option, so first instinct was to get to a stop and take my feet off the bike. Combined with the shouting of his/her (let’s call it a she dog, aka Bitch) owner and me getting of the bike Savanah slid to a standstill in a cloud of dust and sand coming to a stop a few centimeters from my previously bitten left leg. Good dog. (Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs and would have 20 if I could, so for a dog to want to attack me because I am a moving object, does hurt my feelings a little bit, because I know it is just instinct. Or it could be the runner owner that does not like cyclist and secretly trains the Bitch to attack). Relieved that Savanah managed to stop before crashing into me, teeth and all, the owner apologises saying sorry. No worries I say, not an issue. Off they went and back on my KTM Scarp I get – that

Boys and their camera phone toys aka Rob Kucera

Boys and their camera phone toys aka Rob Kucera

cry again SAVANAH! Off the bike again and fortunately Savanah retreats and goes back to run with his (sorry her) owner. Waiting until they disappear into the forest I get up and tackle the sand again. Apparently some dogs see you as prey as clearly this one did, find out what to do when a dog is chasing you here or here.

When riding the Absa Cape Epic one will encounter many challenges on-route, like the sandy patch I was riding to up skill my sand riding technique as one, technical tricky terrain, thorns, heat, ridiculous climbs and even possibly a stray dog out there in the sticks. So I saw this as invaluable Cape epic training for me. Needless to say when I caught up with them on the other side of the forest again, I gladly took a small break until they disappeared into the sunrise.

 

My encounters of a canine kind did not end there. Later in that week as I was on my way home from finishing a ride on Table Mountain and cycling through a park close to Kirstenbosch / Bishopscourt area I was seen as prey again.

How fast would you peddle if Rob Vember's little pub Mackenzie

How fast would you peddle if Rob Vember’s little pub Mackenzie

Fortunately the owner was close by and the dogs were well trained and listened when called back and soon found the tennis ball being thrown for them much more interesting than some sweaty mountain bikers legs. And again I love dogs, but I am not too sure what I would do if Rob Vember unleashes his trio of dogs on me…. Especially Mackenzie – sprint record at max cadence in heaviest gear!  She is a show dog after all. But seriously, I do love dogs.

 

It has been tough this last week as the routine of training is catching up with me: “can I just sleep 5 minutes longer, it is still dark outside”. Time is running out as D-day is fast approaching and I thought it well to take my bike in for a proper service, and when I say proper, I mean proper as you will see from the images. The whole bike gets taken

Thanks to the guys from Freewheel Cycology for the proper full service on my bike. Thanks Richard Coram and Sean Wightman

Thanks to the guys from Freewheel Cycology for the proper full service on my bike. Thanks Richard Coram and Sean Wightman

apart and all the components get checked to make sure all is good to carry my petite 107kg body through the last weeks of training, but especially through the 8 days of the Absa Cape Epic. It is super important to make sure your bike is properly looked after and maintained. A simple thing on my bike was the hairline cracks that started to show on my rims. It has done a Absa Cape Epic before and many other stage races since 2014 and I wasn’t always my lean 107kg’s, so some components were bound to take a hammering as I am no slouch going down technical terrain as I hope my friends will justify this and that I am not being too arrogant for a 100kg rider. To

Stripped to the bare minimum - the masterpiece of the KTM Scarp frame

Stripped to the bare minimum – the masterpiece of the KTM Scarp frame

be honest, I have no choice but to go downhill quickly as gravity has that pull, I am just saying and in the words of my mate James Bell (oh and Nikki Ferreira), Safety First.

Most of us just get on and ride our bike but here are some tips from the internet to assist with maintenance and having a good ride or this

Hope this update was a bit more positive and thanks to Loriaan for approving myself and Thinus’s supporters T-Shirts. I think it looks great and thank you for everyone that is supporting us and following us on this journey (Too soon to reveal the T-shirt design).

Oh crack and a cry of anguish - result is new rims and another cry of anguish when the bill came

Oh crack and a cry of anguish – result is new rims and another cry of anguish when the bill came

 

PS: I have seen more squirrels on my rides than dogs and none of them has ever decided to attack me. What I am most afraid of when I do have an encounter with a squirrel is that it might be out gathering nuts for the winter…

Finally got that WattBike in the gym that can measure your performance or non performance for coach Alasdair Garnett at The Practise

Finally got that WattBike in the gym that can measure your performance or non performance for coach Alasdair Garnett at The Practice

When your bike service takes up the whole day and you mate and bike shop owner sends you this :)

When your bike service takes up the whole day and you mate and bike shop owner sends you this 🙂

Mental – Songs in my Head

As a result of having entered the 2016 Absa Cape Epic I am forced to spend numerous hours on my KTM mountain bike and as I mostly ride alone one has plenty of hours for your mind to go to wonderful and weird places. Don’t worry, I think I am still sane and of the right state of mind.

Taking on an endurance event does take a lot of mental aptitude from the discipline in the months of training to the determination to finish during the event. Thus focus is required with clear set goals or you could just numb everything out in your head through songs in your head – there you go, one song already that is on the head playlist: Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd –“I have become, comfortably numb…”

Great day out in Bonteheuwel with the JAG Foundations JAGRiders programme as we got to experience their self-built Cross Country Track

Great day out in Bonteheuwel with the JAG Foundations JAGRiders programme as we got to experience their self-built Cross Country Track

During the months of training one follows a rigid training program (The Practice), and if you are like me you want to follow that to the T (possibly to the frustration of coach Alasdair J ) to make sure everything is done as it should be. Having set goals really helps to stay focus and working towards your end goal. Back to all the time spent training – one will experience variable weather conditions (Especially in Cape Town) from gale force winds, to extreme heat to rain and even cold with some stunning days in between.  Now when I first got onto a mountain bike I made it quite clear to all that I am a Fair Weather Cyclist and will not go cycling in even a mildly strong breeze.  Things have changed since those days in 2011 as the philosophy now is (especially when training for an event such as the Absa Cape Epic) that you can’t control the weather at the race, go out and do what you need to do, you will reap the benefits should you experience similar circumstances in your endurance race. You can’t choose the weather at the Cape Epic, you have to ride each day and thus this mind set saw me train through 3 weeks of a howling gale force South Easter, not only cycling in the morning but going for a short run in the afternoon, it saw me got soaking wet doing hill repeats up Constantia Neck, it saw me sweat out litres of sweat when riding in 40+ degree Celsius heat and I am still here able to blog about it. This brings me to another song in my head: No Pain No Gain by Scorpions.

Fighting off "racing snake' instincts Willie du Plooy rode the Meerendal Ultra Marathon with me. Thanks Willie (Pictured here we are at Witsand on ride the week prior)

Fighting off “racing snake’ instincts Willie du Plooy rode the Meerendal Ultra Marathon with me. Thanks Willie (Pictured here we are at Witsand on ride the week prior)

I recently did the Ashburton Ultra-Marathon at Meerendal Wine Estate (I won’t say too much about this event as I don’t want to bitch and moan to much here and rather remain positive) where my substitute Cape Epic rider for the day, Willie du Plooy, fought off his Racing Snake instincts to ride with me as we took on the 101km challenge. We didn’t quite make the cut off at the 65km mark with an insane average speed required of close to 15km/h (Too fast for this F(Ph)at Boy). That did not stop us as we decided in no uncertain terms after some rude and explicit language (Directed at no one but venting our disappointment) to continue our ride on our own as the coach had 100km on the schedule and that is what we will do. Kudos Willie for continuing with me on the extended ride in the heat and wind, hopefully this pain will be our gain when we in the next race situation.

 

With only about 6 weeks left before the start of myself and Thinus’ epic adventure the time is now to keep focus and not let up on the discipline in the training regime. I would be lying if I say that I’m not slightly nervous. I’ve managed to get my weight down from 118kg at the end of October to 108kg currently and hopefully I can shed a few more kilograms in the next month to be as light as possible at the starting line. The pressure is there to not disappoint your friend who has been training for months and has the Absa Cape Epic as a bucket list event to finish, to not disappoint yourself and everyone that has vested in you and your journey to finish. There you go again – Queen: Under Pressure…

No matter the weather, I can't be a Fair Weather Cyclist anymore and has to go ride

No matter the weather, I can’t be a Fair Weather Cyclist anymore and has to go ride

 

For some reason I always seem to have the song: The Downeaster Alexa by Billy Joel in my  head…”But there ain’t no island left for islanders like me…Yea yea yea oh”

And this is to keep my Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford motivated for the last stretch: Bryan Adams: We’re Gonna Win (meaning finish)

 

Mental toughness is…

…when you, your body, the competition, nature, or the environment has the best of you so that you’re physically tapped out and need to figure out how to pull something out of yourself… not in a robotic way—in a way that’s mentally aware and engaged. It’s not just the ability to keep moving but to keep doing it in a way that’s engaged and competitive in the environment you’re in, whether that’s competing against the clock or other human beings. It’s easy when you feel good physically. It’s when that physicality leaves you.

Playing photographic director and getting my friend Rob in a unique and uncomfortable position on the Blockhouse cannon. He might hate me for posting this :)

Playing photographic director and getting my friend Rob in a unique and uncomfortable position on the Blockhouse cannon. He might hate me for posting this 🙂 Happy birthday for the upcoming weekend Mr. K

Here are some interesting reads on the mental aspect of endurance events and training for it:

You all probably know that we will be riding with Mitas tyres in the Absa Cape Epic – herewith some more info:

Mitas Silant Salesman Jan16_Page_1

Mitas Silant Salesman Jan16_Page_2

Blown Away

Apologies for not having posted something more regularly but it has been holidays and we tried to stay away from the computer as much as possible, but not from training and working on that weight loss goal, and oh yes not quite away from the ice cold beer in the holidays as well.

 

Training is going well and everyone asks me if I am ready for the Absa Cape Epic, I don’t think one will ever be ready. You can only train as much as you can and cleverly (thanks to coach Alasdair Garnett from The Practice) to ensure you are as best prepared as possible covering all the bases from Endurance to strength and hopefully by sticking to the training regimen the mental strength to keep on going gets tough.

Top of Dorstberg with my Han(S)olo ride over the weekend in 38 degrees heat. Tough out there

Top of Dorstberg with my Han(S)olo ride over the weekend in 38 degrees heat. Tough out there

With less than two months to go I must admit that I am getting slightly nervous. But enough of that, the last two weeks were quite intense and hard training and living in Cape Town the non-stop 40km plus South Easter wind that blew did not make going out early mornings for training any easier. But as the saying goes you can’t choose the weather at the Absa Cape Epic so it makes sense to go out and ride in whatever the weather throws at you and do the training required on the specific day. I must confess the 1st two days of being blown away I chose the “easier” option and forced myself indoors to Virgin Active and time on the WattBikes, since then I made myself an attitude adjustment and decided the wind won’t stop me from getting out there and doing the training that’s required. Can’t disappoint Training Peaks and have a red block popping up.

 

The base 2 & 3 training, strength with endurance has been tough and the hill repeats I had to do painful as I sadistically chose Price Drive In Constantia (one of the steepest roads in Cape Town) to do my repeats on. I did come close to losing the breakfast I did not have before the ride. It was painful. Enough of that, too many things happened in training since I last Blogged so I won’t bore you too much but choose the easy way out with posting photos.

 

The legs are hurting and tired, today is an off day and I am really appreciating that and ironically with stunning weather predicted for Cape Town this week I am scheduled to find myself in the gym for a few sessions this week indoors. On the 30th I will be doing the Ashburton Marathon at Meerendal Wine Estate on the 30th, just 107km’s to go with a bit of climbing. Let’s see what happens! Glad to report that it seems that my riding partner and other PhatBoy is on track with his training and ready to put me in the hurt locker on the bike…can’t wait! Remember to follow us once the event kicks off, Team Mitas KTM PhatBoys for 8 days of survival.

Top of Chapman's Peak saw me a couple of times over the holidays. Thanks for a great ride yesterday Wikkelspies!

Top of Chapman’s Peak saw me a couple of times over the holidays. Thanks for a great ride yesterday Wikkelspies!

 

Riding with the family up in Pretoria over Christmas

Riding with the family up in Pretoria over Christmas

Enjoy the photos and wishing everyone all the best for 2016. Live each day as your last.

My thoughts are with my friend Chantel Rall and her battle with Cancer, thinking a lot about you Chantz, be strong and keep on fighting. You know your # – F. .k

Always great riding round Cape Point

Always great riding round Cape Point

A quick stopover at our Creative Agency and friends

A quick stopover at our Creative Agency and friends

Caught up with Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford as we tackled Hoogekraal with maxed out temperature of 47 degrees

Caught up with Absa Cape Epic partner Thinus Crafford as we tackled Hoogekraal with maxed out temperature of 47 degrees

Showed the Joburger what the top of Chapman's Peak look like ;)

Showed the Joburger what the top of Chapman’s Peak look like 😉

Seen many of these - sunrises that is

Seen many of these – sunrises that is

Did numerous rides with these buggers. Thanks gents for spending time out on the trails. The compulsory selfie on top of Dorstberg with Willie and Rob

Did numerous rides with these buggers. Thanks gents for spending time out on the trails. The compulsory selfie on top of Dorstberg with Willie and Rob

View over Simon's Town from the top of Red Hill

View over Simon’s Town from the top of Red Hill

First time up Signal Hill with the bike and what a view

First time up Signal Hill with the bike and what a view

Always a great pic from the Blockhouse on Table Mountain

Always a great pic from the Blockhouse on Table Mountain

There was some time to socialise as well with actually 'watching' a Football match at The Toad

There was some time to socialise as well with actually ‘watching’ a Football match at The Toad

Enjoying that last holiday beer

Enjoying that last holiday beer

Cancer

Stopped over in Kalk bay to say howzit to my friend Hanli and have a look at the Ocean Deck Shop, home base of the I am Water Foundation

Stopped over in Kalk bay to say howzit to my friend Hanli and have a look at the Ocean Deck & Shop, home base of the I am Water Foundation

Feeling that passion again

Even the cold winter rain in Cape Town is not dampening the enthusiasm to get back into a lean mean mountain biking machine. No but seriously, after going through a bit of a slump and not enjoying my riding I’m loving it again and is super keen to be fit and in great shape again. I know it will take commitment but the balance needs to be there in enjoying life as well, yes it means enjoying a braai and a cold beer with my mates.

There are many routes along the slopes with splendous views over the Cape Town City Bowl

There are many routes along the slopes with splendous views over the Cape Town City Bowl

With the Tokai Forest on my doorstep going through rehabilitation after the devastating fires from earlier in the year, and only opening up to the public towards the end of 2016, I had to find an alternative playground. I can’t believe it took me 5 years of living in Cape Town before I discovered that riding on the slopes of Table Mountain. Mainly jeep tracks and loads of climbing this is the perfect riding area to build on strength and endurance and of course the spectacular views makes all the climbing worthwhile. I’m really enjoying it to be out there as with the lack of daylight and winter rain it is difficult to force oneself to go out and ride alone in the dark and rain, thus the Virgin Active gym visits per month is increasing and when the opportunity is there to be outdoors, it’s really appreciated and even the 1700m climbing of the 60km ride from my house is done with a smile on my face. So when you have the opportunity go out experience the splendour of riding on one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Find details of the MTB routes on Table Mountain by clicking here:

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

The view from the Block House up table Mountain

Spending more time in the gym means that one can focus on that important strength work, including the tedious core exercise that will pay benefits when the sun is shining more frequently and the challenging trails are ahead of you.

For my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy your summer and make use of all the days you have to ride whilst we will cherish every day that arise with beautiful weather that allows us to be outdoors, be it on the bike, running, walking your dogs or chasing your cats.
Riding on Monday (on the tar nogal) I also experienced the benefit of having tubeless tyres as I must have rode some or other sharp object (and no it was not the sharp mind of my cycling buddy) as the hole sealed eventually and we could continue the ride home without having to put in a tube, fantastic! Lesson learnt here is to allow enough time for the sealant to seal and dry in the hole before you continue riding. Be sure you top up the sealant in your tyre if you deem that you lost a lot of liquid in the sealing process, which is super easy to do or just take your bike to your local bike shop and you are ready for the next ride.
Here are some tips from Bike Boo Boos on tubeless tyres

Until the next time, and hopefully the break before posting on the blog won’t be that long again.

Great day out on the bike this last Monday and it was super cool to ride with my first 3 Wines2Whales partner Evert Ferreira. Good to have you back on the bike!

Great day out on the bike this last Monday and it was super cool to ride with my first 3 Wines2Whales partner Evert Ferreira. Good to have you back on the bike!

The Big Boys of Marius Hurter, myself and Rob Kucera at the recent Absa Cape Epic sponsors ride at Meerendal. Living the brands and we made full use of the 'water' points supplied on the wine farm. #Mitas #KTM

The Big Boys of Marius Hurter, myself and Rob Kucera at the recent Absa Cape Epic sponsors ride at Meerendal. Living the brands and we made full use of the ‘water’ points supplied on the wine farm. #Mitas #KTM